A 14-year old classical vocalist from Seychelles has reached 4th position in the final of a singing competition in Italy - the 8th edition of the 'Sanremo Junior.'
Speaking to SNA, the young singer, Jade du Preez, said that singing with a 37-piece orchestra was a magical experience.
"I loved every moment of it, loved hearing those instruments around me; the violins behind me, the piano to my left and seeing the encouraging face and directions of the conductor Giancarlo de Lorenzo to my right," she said.
Du Preez was chosen by the local School of Music after the president of the festival, Paolo Alberti, had approached the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) in Italy and offered Seychelles a chance to audition for this international song competition.
Du Preez's mother, Irene, told SNA that, "STB then contacted the local School of Music, who selected Jade as their best under 15-year-old soloist singer."
STB only got to know about the event a few days before the registration deadline and with a tight schedule Du Preez only had three days to produce a song that fit the event. The chosen songs had to be suitable to be played with an orchestra and there were three categories -- classic, Jazz Blues and rock.
She succeeded but the limited time did not leave her the possibility of trying out a few songs. Du Preez auditioned with the Disney classic 'A Whole New World' coming from the animated Disney movie 'Aladdin.' Du Preez's vocal skills were recognised by the jury with a 'Special Mentioning' on her certificate and she was called out just before the Top 3 were announced.
The Sanremo Junior is a growing singing contest for the young aged between 6 and 15. Hundreds of children were screened with 24 contestants from 18 countries selected to the world finals. The world finals in Sanremo at the Teatro Ariston on May 3, there were four finalists' soloist singers.
Du Preez told SNA, "I felt so excited and only a little nervous. It was a true honour and it was fantastic making so many great friends with the other finalists who came from all over the world."
Her mother said, "I am very proud that she was able to pull it off while she was on stage before a packed and cheerful audience. In my point of view there are two types of singers -- one for the art and one for the show. Jade is all passionate for the art."
The young soloist has been singing for as long as she remembers. At 4, she was the youngest member of national children's choir in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, under the leadership Benett Achouche.
Du Preez later enrolled for vocal lessons at the now Seychelles Conservatory of Performing Arts based at Mont Fleuri, a central district of the main island, Mahe, with Sun Xiaoju Lownam as her vocal teacher.
She is currently preparing Jade for her Grade 5 ABRSM International Music Exam which is equal to an IGCSE Grade. Du Preez is also the youngest member of the Seychelles National Choir. She is also currently preparing for Grade 3 in Ballet, Grade 4 in Guitar and is part of Francois Victor's Junior Guitar Ensemble.
The 14-year-old hopes Seychelles will continue to send skilled students to international competition.
"It is a most rewarding experience and I will be happy to help in any way I can by passing on my experience on to a new candidate for 2018," Jade said
Next on Du Preez's dream list is Broadway and sing for musicals as she loves singing the songs of famous musicals.